BUCKHANNON – A new resource tool has arrived on West Virginia Wesleyan’s campus with the aim of connecting students to job opportunities and increase chances of early employment.

The network is called Handshake and is described as the largest career community for students and recent grads. Campuses across the country are utilizing the tool to enhance students’ prospects of finding jobs and internships during and after graduation.

And now, Wesleyan students can use and explore the network for the first time this semester.

The idea to bring the service to the Bobcat campus was from Jill Okes-Kincade, who runs the college’s Career Services office.

“She went to a career services conference last year and got to interact with career services offices from campuses across the country, and a common tool that is being used at all of these other schools, or most of these other schools, is having some kind of platform for students to be able to search and apply for jobs and internships,” explained Kristin Ring, a first generation mentor in the Student Success Center. “And one of the most popular ones out there – and a high-rated one – is Handshake, and that’s how it kind of first came to be on our campus.”

Ring described the tool as “kind of like Indeed,” but rather a job site specific for college students.

“There’s an app version, and then there’s also a website version and students register to sign up. Because we paid for the program and because we are a school partner with them, all of our students are already uploaded into the system with their information and major and things like that,” she said, “so, it’s a pretty seamless process for them.”

Students then have the opportunity to customize their profiles with past job experiences, skills, education and so on. With no limit of location, students can browse job postings from the local area, in-state, out-of-state and worldwide.

“All of the postings that are on Handshake are through employers that we have approved or we have already partnered with,” said Ring. “Through Handshake, we have a little bit more control to vet the different options whether it be employers or specific job postings. So, we can kind of hopefully vet out any scams or anything that doesn’t look like it would be good options for our students.”

With more and more employers being added to the network every day, Ring welcomes local businesses to partner with Handshake as they seek employees.

“There’s no cost to them. No cost to the students. And essentially, they can kind of create their own profile on Handshake and partner with Wesleyan and to specifically recruit for interns, recent graduates, part-time jobs and things like that,” she said.

If employers or local businesses are interested in linking with Handshake to recruit recent graduates, contact Ring at ring.k@wvwc.edu.

“We are continuing to build our local base and to create more opportunities for the students, so the more people we have on board, the happier we are,” said Ring.

With participation from all 50 states and 165 countries, roughly 3.5 million job opportunities and internships in every industry are posted to Handshake. With that magnitude, students have the chance to find jobs and employment experiences they can connect with and build a career upon.

“We’re really excited about it because this is a type of service that we’ve never offered before. In the past, there hasn’t been a centralized location where students can go on their own to search for internships and jobs, and so this gives them an opportunity to do all of those things in one centralized location instead of having to reach out to multiple professors across the campus or from office to office trying to find opportunities,” said Ring. “It gives the students themselves more control over how they access those opportunities. We’ve had a really supportive system in the past, but this just streamlines that significantly.”